Names are important in life: they are also important in death. As a Wills and Estates lawyer, names are always at the forefront of my mind.
Names are important in life: they are also important in death.
As a Wills and Estates lawyer, names are always at the forefront of my mind.
When someone dies with assets of significance in their own name, the executor of the deceased’s Will must apply to the Supreme Court for an official document called a Grant of Probate in order to deal with the assets and liabilities of the estate and distribute the estate in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.
As a part of this process, the deceased’s original last Will is lodged with the Supreme Court. The death certificate of the deceased is also provided to the Supreme Court.
Problems with the executor’s application and therefore with the administration of the estate arise when:
- The deceased’s name is not correct on the Will. For example, it is not spelt correctly or does not include a middle name.
- The deceased’s name is not correct on the death certificate.
- The deceased’s name is correct on the Will but does not exactly match the deceased name on his or her assets and liabilities.
These are just a few examples. These complications require explanation and correction to ultimately enable the Grant of Probate to be issued and the estate administered. Unfortunately such complications tend to significantly increases costs which are borne by the estate and thus reduce the money paid to beneficiaries.
How can you avoid complications with names?
- Know you birth name and legal name. Apply for and obtain your birth certificate if you do not have an original copy. Do not assume.
- Make sure your identification documents such as drivers licences, passport etc all match.
- Make sure your bank accounts, the title to your house and other assets and liabilities are all held in your correct legal name.
- Have your Will professionally prepared and advise your lawyer of your full legal name and any other “aliases“ you use, if you have not yet managed to ensure all assets are in your legal name.